First of all, quantum uncertainty could be used to create private keys for encrypting messages sent from one location to another so that hackers could not secretly copy the key perfectly, because of quantum uncertainty.
They would have to break the laws of quantum physics to hack the key. So this kind of unbreakable encryption is already being tested by banks and other institutions worldwide. Today, we use more than 17 billion connected devices globally. Just imagine the impact quantum encryption could have in the future.
Secondly, quantum technologies could also transform health care and medicine. For example, the design and analysis of molecules for drug development is a challenging problem today, and that’s because exactly describing and calculating all of the quantum properties of all the atoms in the molecule is a computationally difficult task, even for our supercomputers.
But a quantum computer could do better, because it operates using the same quantum properties as the molecule it’s trying to simulate. So future large-scale quantum simulations for drug development could perhaps lead to treatments for diseases like Alzheimer’s, which affects thousands of lives.
And thirdly, my favorite quantum application is teleportation of information from one location to another without physically transmitting the information.
Sounds like sci-fi, but it is possible, because these fluid identities of the quantum particles can get entangled across space and time in such a way that when you change something about one particle, it can impact the other, and that creates a channel for teleportation. It’s already been demonstrated in research labs and could be part of a future quantum internet.
We don’t have such a network as yet, but my team is working on these possibilities, by simulating a quantum network on a quantum computer. So we have designed and implemented some interesting new protocols such as teleportation among different users in the network and efficient data transmission and even secure voting. So it’s a lot of fun for me, being a quantum physicist.
I highly recommend it. We get to be explorers in a quantum wonderland. Who knows what applications we will discover next. We must tread carefully and responsibly as we build our quantum future.
And for me, personally, I don’t see quantum physics as a tool just to build quantum computers. I see quantum computers as a way for us to probe the mysteries of nature and reveal more about this hidden world outside of our experiences.
How amazing that we humans, with our relatively limited access to the universe, can still see far beyond our horizons just using our imagination and our ingenuity. And the universe rewards us by showing us how incredibly interesting and surprising it is.
The future is fundamentally uncertain, and to me, that is certainly exciting.